This is your life.
Two hundred years ago, nobody would have even been able to fathom the miracle that is our every day. Planes, trains, automobiles go whizzing by your bedroom window and you but blink an eye. You’re staring at a crystal clear terminal, a portal to everything you could ever wish to access. Like lightning it communicates through airwaves to towers and satellites orbiting our planet, delivering information to you at instant speed. I’m talking about your computer. A nine pound construction of metal and glass that could easily be the capstone of humanity. And it sits in your lap.
And what do you do with it?
You gawk mindlessly at a group of people pretending to be you. They have terrible jobs that they hate, go home to terrible wives that they wish they never married and talk about their terrible problems that bog their terrible well-being. Then you chuckle when you’re told to; the producers and writers of the comedy show pay other people to pretend to laugh on queue, then synchronize the recorded audio to match punchlines and other nuances that they consider to be moments of worthy humor.
And what do you do?
You join in like a sheep with that pre-recorded group of paid laughers. The organic supercomputer, whose possibilities have never been understood, sits inactive in your skull. Is it actually funny? You don’t consider this to be a viable question, otherwise you wouldn’t watch the program in the first place. You’ve convinced yourself you enjoy it, and the laugh track enables and reaffirms this belief. It’s brainwashing 101.
This is your life.
We are bound by an unexplainable force called ‘gravity’ to a massive chunk of material spinning at a rate of 800 miles per hour while simultaneously trampling through what we call ‘space’ in a nearly perfect circle at a rate of 585 million miles per year. This object called ‘Earth’ is interacting relentlessly with another object nearly 93 million miles away called the ‘Sun’ that constantly, through pressures so intense and sweltering, fuses hydrogen atoms into helium atoms, producing light and heat as a by-product for millions of years. This process, known as nuclear fusion, is happening right now while you stare at How I Met Your Mother.
In simpler terms, you and the Sun share coexistence, and that thought alone is a fucking miracle. I don’t mean ‘miracle’ like ‘jesus curing a blind man’; rather, a ‘miracle’ like ‘there are forces that are so much bigger than you, occurring at the exact same time as you. Think about this: everyone loves their birthday because they feel special, despite the fact that everyone has one, and millions of people even share that same day with you. Once I learned about Earth, I learned to love my birthday for the sheer fact that I just travelled 585 million fucking miles without raising an eyebrow. That is a miracle.
This is your life.
You’re stuck in traffic and it’s hot outside. You just dropped your breakfast on the way to work and can’t figure out what you did to deserve such an awful start to a Friday that you expected to be perfect. You curse at the guy in front of you for not slamming the gas once the light flashed green and arrive six minutes late to a job you’ve convinced yourself to love. Your co-worker requests a day off and you, being the gentle and understanding manager that you’ve constructed yourself to be, let Jerry get a head start on the weekend. Because of this, your paperwork doubles, and you’ll have to spend an extra two hours in the building.
But wait. Did you miss everything I just said?
You are sitting in a heap of bent metal that combusts ancient organic material that was extracted from hundreds of miles into the ground. Every driver around you also operates this mechanical stroke of genius. The food that fell to the cement was prepared in six different countries and somehow converged into a bite-sized mass of organic energy. It is 100% compatible with the chemical acids and thriving community of bacteria living in the cesspool that is your stomach. That bagel egg and cheese sandwich is a provisional wonder, and you call it ‘bland’. The guy in front of you is another soul, another biochemical organism capable of every thought, every emotion, every experience and every hardship that you’ve endured, and you’ve reduced him to ‘fucking asshole’. You’re six minutes late, the most arbitrary of all your worries this morning, yet the most prioritized complex that we as a human race have agreed upon. What the fuck is the difference between 9:00am and 9:06am? Apparently everything. The conversation that you had with Jerry was a sonic marvel, an interaction with a garden of minuscule hair follicles growing within the depths of your ear canal, which your organic supercomputer (the one that you don’t need to use when watching Scrubs) instantaneously interpreted as sound waves, then converted and spat out (again, instanfuckingtaneously) as comprehensive language, allowing you to repeat this unbelievable phenomena to the other human standing six feet away from you. The infinitely complex exchange of sounds and body movements is flawless, and you didn’t even have to think about it. Once you finally get to have a seat at your desk and begin writing, millions of tiny nerves and muscle fibers cooperatively tense and relax, moving the bones in your wrist, allowing you to etch thousands of miniature and understandable letter-symbols. The device in your grip is so intricately and evenly distributing a liquid compound that, when dry, permanently stains the razor-thin slice of wood that we call ‘office paper’.
And somehow, this is not only boring, but miserable.
This is your life.
We can choose to hate our existence. I do not. I cope with my life and most of the time enjoy it, only because it is difficult, and nothing is guaranteed.
Wait, excuse me. I take that back. There are a list of things that you are guaranteed to experience during your finite stay on hotel spacerock. Lists like to work in threes, so follow along:
1) You will lose everything you’ve ever gained.
It started when we were young. We all had a toybox, but somehow, over time, all those little treasures faded away from our lives. I can’t pinpoint exactly when I got rid of all my action figures. In fact I can’t say that I was the one to throw them out. They just kind of, disappeared, and one day I didn’t really miss them.
But you will miss the other things that you will certainly lose along this course of your life.
First, you will lose your grandparents. Then you will lose your pets. And your first love, and maybe your second love. And then your parents. You will lose your favorite local restaurant to a mega-corporation and you will most likely lose at least one job that brings you safe income. You will lose your health, steadily or otherwise, and the functions of your organic supercomputer will become cluttered and laggy. All of the money you made this year will be mostly spent on other things you will lose, like hockey sticks and coffee tables and dates that didn’t turn into anything. Everything you have right now is fleeting.
Because of the nature of things, this means that happiness, after all, takes a lot of effort. It takes training and practice, and some days it will take the best of you. But it is achievable and abundant, and you must choose to feed it.
2) You will die.
I am quite okay with this concept and I want to tell you why. In my dualistic mind, there are two potential outcomes of a heart that ceases to beat:
a) The first outcome is purely nihilistic in nature, and for that reason it lacks all hope. In this reality, absolutely nothing happens when I die. My best friend said, in response to this theory, that that is entirely unfair. We are devastated by death because it creates loss in your life. So how could something so profoundly powerful end with nothing. You mean to say that nothing is causing so much grief in life? And the answer is yes. But in this theory, when you die and nothing happens, then you would not be aware that nothing happened. So effectively, it cannot lead to disappointment. It cannot produce pain. It cannot produce anything. One day, you simply are, and then you simply are not. That’s it.
b) The second outcome: something happens. A fucking miracle.
3) You are always guaranteed a choice.
You are alive right now. I want you to think about this in every way possible. I want you to understand that you cannot understand how absurd and unbelievable that simple fact is. I want you to go outside and look into the night sky. I want you to let your mind roam, like a child’s, and entertain the idea of your size in this universe. I want you to kiss the person you’ve always wanted to kiss. I want you to have sex that leaves you paralyzed, a limp hand hanging off the corner of a bed frame. I want you to smile at the fact that someone destroyed you, because it’s ultimately such a minute bump in the galactic road. I want you to take a photograph every day. I want you to turn off your fucking television and go stare at a flower, or a bee, or the paint on your wall. If you really look at anything long enough, it will turn your world upside down. Imagine a place that you’ve never thought of before, right now. Use your organic supercomputer. Use your hands. Learn things. Speak to people. Throw your drink at somebody. Draw with a red crayon. Because ultimately, everything you do is better because you did it, and because it was better than not doing it. Learn to juggle. Learn where Tanzania is. I have no fucking clue where it is, but I can.
Take everything apart.
Take care of your body. It is the vehicle that will determine everything in your life.
Become somebody to someone.
This is your life. Can you even imagine?
Listen to the sound of the french horns. Taste candle wax.
Give your barista a high-five.
Honk your horn at midnight.
Remember: you are alive right now. Wake up.
This is your life.